In the Orioles organization over the years, we remember names like Brian Matusz, Manny Machado, Dylan Bundy, Matt Wieters and Adley Rutschman when it comes to top prospects.
But when we dig a little deeper, we find names that we forgot were top prospects for the Orioles. Players that never reached the big leagues in an O’s uniform.
Here are five MLB players you probably forgot were top prospects in the Orioles organization.
5. Jonah Heim
The now-27-year-old catcher was actually a fourth-round pick in 2013 to the Baltimore Orioles out of Amherst Central High School in Amherst, New York.
He spent time in the O’s farm system from 2013 to 2016 and never got higher than the High-A Frederick Keys. He would be ranked as high as 26th in the Orioles’ system in 2014, according to Baseball America.
Heim never played a major league game as an Oriole, but he did help the Orioles in another way. He would be traded on August 1, 2016, to the Tampa Bay Rays in exchange for fan favorite utility man, Steve Pearce.
After the trade, Heim would not reach the majors until 2020, when he debuted with the Oakland Athletics. He is most known for his 2021 campaign when his two walk-off home runs against the Mariners would be the biggest factors of the Seattle Mariners not breaking their postseason drought that year.
In his MLB career so far, Heim has slashed .214/.275/.374 with a .649 OPS in 406 at-bats. He has 92 total hits, 33 doubles, one triple and 26 home runs, paired with 85 RBIs and 59 walks.
4. Eduardo Rodriguez
Eduardo Rodriguez was signed by the Orioles as an international free agent in 2010. As another prospect that never debuted for the Orioles, he was also a part of a trade that brought another player that might be forgotten as an Oriole.
Rodriguez was in the O’s organization from 2010 to 2014 and reached as high as the Double-A Bowie Baysox. He would rank as high as third on the Orioles’ top 30 and 65th on MLB’s top 100 rankings in 2014.
On July 31, 2014, the Orioles would trade Rodriguez to the Boston Red Sox in exchange for Andrew Miller. At the time, of course, the Orioles were making a push towards an AL East crown, eventually making it as far as the ALCS.
The crafty lefty would officially debut in 2015 for the Red Sox. After a rocky start to his big league career, Rodriguez would finish sixth in the 2019 AL Cy Young voting when he won 19 games and had a 3.81 ERA.
In his career with Boston, and now Detroit, Rodriguez has a 69-44 record with a 4.15 ERA in 947.2 innings pitched. He has given up 918 total hits, 437 earned runs, walked 328 and struck out 964.
3. Zach Davies
The Orioles selected Zach Davies in the 26th round of the 2011 draft out of Mesquite High School in Gilbert, Arizona. Davies is another player that never debuted for the Orioles but, once again, was traded for a player that is sometimes forgotten as an Oriole.
Davies was in the O’s system from 2010 to 2015, reaching as high as the Triple-A Norfolk Tides and ranking as high as sixth on the Orioles’ top prospects list.
He would be traded on July 31, 2015, to the Milwaukee Brewers in exchange for outfielder Gerardo Parra and would make his major league debut just one month later on September 2, 2015.
Davies just finished his eighth season in the big leagues, and throughout his career, he has a 58-53 record with a 4.14 ERA in 966 innings pitched. He has given up a total of 957 hits and 444 earned runs and has walked 326 batters and struck out 713.
2. Christian Walker
This is maybe the one prospect that fans will remember because he actually played in orange and black. Christian Walker was drafted in the fourth round of the 2012 draft out of the University of South Carolina.
Walker was a highly-rated prospect for the Orioles in his time with the organization. He ranked as high as third on the Orioles’ top 30 prospects list in 2015 and spent 2012 to 2017 with the organization.
The power-centric righty made his debut on September 17, 2014, and would struggle as an Oriole, as he only had a .148 average and .554 OPS in 13 games, 27 at-bats.
Walker would be claimed off waivers by the Atlanta Braves on February 27, 2017, but wouldn’t have a full-time home until one month later on March 28, 2017, when the Arizona Diamondbacks grabbed him.
The now-31-year-old has spent six years with the Diamondbacks and has been a huge asset. In 2022, he had a 36 home run season and won his first Gold Glove at first base.
In his career, Walker has slashed .247/.328/.451 with a .779 OPS in 1,819 at-bats. He has 450 total hits, 96 doubles, five triples and 88 home runs with 256 RBIs and 201 walks.
1. Josh Hader
Yes, the Orioles had one of the best closers in the game right in their farm system. Josh Hader was drafted in the 19th round of the 2012 draft out of Old Mill High School right here in Millersville, Maryland.
Hader was not highly ranked as a prospect, as he only spent about a year with the Orioles between 2012 and 2013. He was ranked as high as 19th in the Orioles’ top 30 prospects list.
Hader would only go as high as the Single-A Delmarva Shorebirds. On July 31, 2013, Hader would be traded to the Houston Astros along with L.J. Hoes and a 2014 competitive balance pick for right-hander Bud Norris.
Hader wouldn’t debut until June 10, 2017, with the Milwaukee Brewers, after being traded for a second time. He would end up being a four-time All-Star and received Cy Young votes in 2018.
Hader in his career so far has gone 18-18 with a 2.71 ERA in 332.1 innings pitched. He has given up 178 total hits and 100 earned runs and has walked just 127 to 563 strikeouts. He also has 132 saves in his career.
Obviously, there are other players that were a part of the organization that turned out to be successful big league players. But these five stood out the most when it comes to the last decade of baseball.
Which player were you surprised to see make this list? Let us know in the comments below! And make sure to follow The Baltimore Battery on Facebook and Twitter, and use the hashtag #baltimorebattery when sharing our content!
Like Zack’s content? Follow him on Twitter – @Zackattack8211